- Netflix won the most Emmys for the first time on Sunday with a record-tying 44 wins.
- HBO, its biggest competitor, trailed with 19 wins, including four for HBO Max.
- Netflix and HBO have been in a tug-of-war in recent years.
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Eight years after “House of Cards” earned Netflix its first Emmy nominations, the streaming company came out on top in more ways than one on Sunday during the 73rd Emmys.
Netflix’s “The Crown” won for best drama and “The Queen’s Gambit” won best limited series. Prior to this year, Netflix had been nominated for best drama, comedy, and limited series 30 times and never won (Apple TV+’s “Ted Lasso” was crowned best comedy this year).
The streaming giant also won the most Emmys of the night for the first time with 44 trophies (including the Creative Arts Emmys), tying a 47-year record with CBS.
Netflix’s biggest competitor at the Emmys, HBO, trailed this year with 15 total wins. The HBO Max streaming service nabbed four wins. HBO and Max led the nominations by a razor-thin margin with a combined 130 (94 for HBO and 36 for Max), while Netflix had 129 nominations.
It’s a major role reversal from last year when HBO won 30 Emmys, buoyed by drama and limited series wins for “Succession” and “Watchmen,” while Netflix won 21.
Netflix has developed a recent reputation among some in Hollywood for valuing quantity over quality. With its resounding Emmys dominance, Netflix can try to dampen those criticisms.
But still, Sunday gave some reminders of the change that has happened within Netflix in recent months. “The Crown” winners, including creator Peter Morgan and director Jessica Hobbs, thanked former Netflix executives Cindy Holland (former head of original content) and Nina Wolarsky (former VP of original drama series), who helped shepherd “The Crown” to success. The two exited the company last year amid a shakeup that saw Bela Bajaria elevated to global TV chief.
As for HBO, it’s known for its small collection of prestige shows. But when AT&T bought Time Warner, forming WarnerMedia in 2018, it quickly vowed to launch its own streaming service and increase HBO’s output of content.
HBO showed resilience on the quality front with big acting wins for its hit limited series “Mare of Easttown” and HBO Max’s “Hacks,” and “Last Week Tonight” once again won best variety talk series. But this is the first time since 2014 that the premium cable network hasn’t won any of the top three prizes of the night.
HBO and Max programming chief Casey Bloys, who was thanked multiple times on Sunday during acceptance speeches, told press in June that 2022 will see the “highest level of scripted programming we ever had,” but urged that HBO’s mission “hasn’t changed.”
“Despite everything going on around HBO, the creative team … we’re still doing our thing,” he said.
But HBO is also facing another regime change, as AT&T is set to spin off WarnerMedia to Discovery in a deal likely to be approved next year. The new company will be called Warner Bros. Discovery.